Peter Marshall | 18.10.2009 08:58 | Animal Liberation
Near the start of the march
Police escort the march
The rest of your fur coat
Ditch Fur Do Drag
It was a noisy, angry but not unruly demonstration, and while there was a large police presence (particularly around Harrods) the policing had a lighter touch than in recent years, though there was still a FIT photographer taking a great many pictures. Police this year allowed some leafleting on the streets as the demonstration went along, although the majority of marchers were kept on the road.
The climax of the march was outside Harrods, where it stopped for a short address, which was followed by a minute of silence, and then by an impressive barrage of noise. Many shoppers on the busy pavements stopped to watch, and most seemed sympathetic, taking and reading leaflets.
In previous years I've had problems with the police while covering the Anti-Fur March, with police refusing to allow me to enter or leave the march despite showing a press card. This year photographers were generally allowed freedom to get on with the job, although there were very few present.
The UK Labour Government fulfilled an election pledge by banning fur farming in the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Act 2000, though it only came into force at the start of 2003.
Some countries have passed laws providing improvements in animal welfare in fur farms, and the result has always been that farms in those countries close down. Ethical fur farming simply is not economically viable, and you can be certain that any animal fur sold in the fur trade has been produced by cruel methods. Much now comes form China. It is hard to believe quite how cruel some of the practices are; in some cases the animals are skinned while still alive.
Having accepted that fur farming (and of course fur trapping) involves considerable cruelty to animals it seems illogical that the trade in fur should remain legal in this country.
lthough long campaigns against fur because of the cruelty involved have made the wearing of fur coats unacceptable to most, in recent years some parts of the fashion trade have made increasing use of fur trimmings to garments.
Many designers have stopped using fur, but some of the big names still do, and the protest in Knightsbridge, one of the most exclusive shopping areas of London, today drew attention to some of them. Fur is valued not because of any particular properties, but simply because - even when farmed with excessive cruelty - it is expensive; a way that the rich and stupid can show how rich (and stupid) they are.
More pictures on Demotix shortly, and on My London Diary in a day or two at http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2009/10/oct.htm#fur